Left where they are, they’re a possible source of disease and insect problems on this year’s crop. Also check for the tell-tale gummy deposits of the peach tree borer at the bases of your peach, apricot and cherry trees. If you find any, carefully remove the borers with a penknife or a piece of stiff wire. With the fairly mild winter we experienced in January and February, tulips, narcissus, and hyacinths have been stimulated into active growth. Many home gardeners worry about these new soft succulent leaves and try to protect them from freezing temperatures. Experience has shown that these newly emerging leaves are winter hardy and that this is little to worry about when you see them emerging in late winter and early spring. Since the f lower buds are still within the bulb in the ground, chances are that the bulbs will f lower normally, but probably slightly ahead of schedule. Happy Gardening!
the pruning so that I will have an adequate number of peaches this year. Apples are more cold tolerant than peaches, so we can prune them earlier. Disease and insect control on tree fruit begins now with the application of a dormant oil spray on apples and pears, and a ferbam or lime-sulfur spray on the peaches. If you have a scale insect problem on the peaches use the dormant oil instead of the other materials. Don’t mix oil and sulfur, as that combination will burn the buds. Dormant oil is a safe, effective control for aphids, mites, scales and other overwintering insect pests. Lime-sulfur gives good control of mites and helps to prevent peach leaf curl. Sanitation is especially important in reducing fruit insect and disease problems. Remove and dispose of all mummified (dried) and fallen fruits.
Marc Teffeau retired as Director of Research and Regulatory Affairs at the American Nursery and Landscape Association in Washington, D.C. He now lives in Georgia with his wife, Linda.